For centuries to control Stirling was to control Scotland, such was the importance of the city given its strategic location where the lowlands meet the highlands. The city is wedged between the Ochil Hills and the Campsie Fells, but to the south the land is far gentler.
This quickly explains why the cliff top castle is the city’s most prominent landmark by far and why the lands below were the proving ground for the likes of William Wallace, and Robert the Bruce whose local victories are celebrated at the Wallace Monument and Bannockburn respectively.
Stirling itself grew up around its castle and still boasts stretches of its original walls (1500s). Other historic landmarks include the medieval Church of the Holy Rude with its hammer-beam oak roof: a rare survivor of a once common architectural style.
Otherwise the town is relaxed but fairly unremarkable, it’s pedestrianised shopping area makes for an enjoyable to wander and the compactness of the Old Town makes exploring it on foot a pleasure in any case.